Ask yourself: Is Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi concerned about public opinion at home?
To answer this you have to refer back to important instances, beginning with the Tiran and Sanafir islands issue and how the Egyptian public, including the elites and masses, were furious at the idea of giving up a piece of Egypt’s geography. Protests broke out, statements were issued, figures, parties and unions mobilised and judicial rulings refusing, criminalising and condemning the sale of the islands were issued. It seemed that all of Egypt was hurt by what was happening.
What did Al-Sisi do other than step all over these efforts with his shoes and disregard them all, choosing to go forward with the deal?
He is constantly busy renewing his driver’s license, from accredited regional sources, in the form of the Saudi-Emirati-Israeli triangle and from international sources, represented by Trump and the Europeans who see him as a useful tyrant and an inevitable evil. Therefore, he is not at all concerned with the national feelings, national dignity, historical foundations, or geographical constants. In addition to this, he insists on appearing to have succeeded in breaking the internal community, meaning he has no real ability to achieve resistance or make change.
Al-Sisi is constantly keen to leak anything that proves his loyalty and allegiance to the foreign parties that support and fund him, which he uses to intimidate the disillusioned disturbed internal community, through some big and small messages.
The leak by the New York Times newspaper regarding Al-Sisi’s government’s efforts to defend Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem coincides with the most violent storm facing the White House. This is being further ignited by the book “Fire and Fury”. The book confirms that the foolishness of the president proved effective in controlling decision-making in the biggest Arab capital concerned with the Palestinian cause, by virtue of historical experience and geographical location. The gist of Al-Sisi’s leaks is: “We are here Trump; we are behind you, as I have promised. I stand amongst your small circle of employees in the White House, as you draw the features of the future and distribute tasks. At that moment, I said to you: ‘You will only find me by your side’ in your war on terror, which is every form of resistance to the American-Israeli vision of the region and the world.”
Had Al-Sisi been concerned with his disgraceful image, described as the favourite amongst the Israelis, he would have rallied his media outlets to confront the waterfall of damning testimonies of his cooperation, which flowed from the mouths of the Israelis. Rabbis perform prayers for him all the time and pray for his survival in order to continue to serve the Israeli occupation. Generals express their gratitude to him for making their security situation better and more stable. Politicians consider him their faithful man in Cairo.
Al-Sisi’s information office, which continuously responded to the New York Times journalist, and which I cannot comment on regarding its credibility, sits still all the time, like a chicken laying an egg, when it comes to information worse than that published in the Israeli media regarding Al-Sisi’s loyalty to Israel’s policies. Its hesitance to confront the new leaks only make the story more interesting. The message sent to Trump is clear: Look how I am paying the price dearly for my loyalty and dedication to you?
There must be small internal leaks too, such as the army being dissatisfied with Al-Sisi’s path both internally and externally. These leaks are more like calming massaging oils, such as the stories of the agencies conflicting, the institutions clashing and the elections being the only means to get rid of the general and replace him with another. There is also the leak of Ahmed Shafiq shaking Al-Sisi’s throne.
The new leak for 2018 are the claims that Al-Sisi has become distanced from the army and that the army is angry with him, but there is nothing they can do. He has formed a large military militia, stronger than the army that surround him and secure his authority. Meanwhile, he drowned the army in the waves of business and the hell that is Daesh, thus pushing it away from areas of influence.
What can you read in between the lines of this gentle message?
In short, he wants to say that no one can defeat Al-Sisi, not even the army itself. If we take into consideration the timing of such indications, in the period leading up to the seventh anniversary of the January 25th Revolution, the conclusion would be: Neither the army nor the people can dethrone Al-Sisi (the powerful), so do not think about organising protests or anything else. Just stop trying because you will inevitably be defeated.
Surrendering to taking this kind of “political drug” is a means, repeated every year at this time, to burn whatever remains of your hope and certainty in the ability to take action and crush any attempts to think about change. This is done by portraying Al-Sisi’s government as a brutal force that no one can defeat, just as the myth that “Israel is invincible” was successfully planted in the region.
You should tell anyone who tries to offer you a large package of information, labeled “importance source whose name or location cannot be revealed” to “get lost with your package until you know its source.”
Do not take a product or goods with an unknown source, even if it is free. Remember that at this time, seven years ago, you managed to defeat the invincible legend, the Mubarak regime.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 8 January 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.